06/19/2018 12:40 EDT | Updated 06/19/2018 12:40 EDT

Canadians Divided On Government's Purchase Of Trans Mountain Pipeline: Angus Reid Institute Poll

The project's supporters are also split on whether the move was a good one.

Dennis Owen / Reuters
Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project sit on rail cars at a stockpile site in Kamloops, B.C. May 29, 2018.

Canadians are almost evenly divided on whether the federal government buying Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline was a good investment or a negative precedent-setter.

A new Angus Reid Institute poll finds an equal number of Canadians (37 per cent) say the purchase was the right decision as the number who say it was the wrong decision. Another 26 per cent were unsure or couldn't say.

Across most provinces, Canadians were still evenly split on the decision, including in British Columbia (38 per cent and 38 per cent). However, about half of Albertans (51 per cent) agree with the government's choice, and 28 per cent disagree.

Watch: Elizabeth May calls Kinder Morgan pipeline deal "completely insane." Story continues below.

Canadians were also split depending on who they supported in the last federal election. More Conservative and NDP voters (41 per cent and 57 per cent) believe the Liberals made the wrong decision than the right one, compared to the Liberal supporters, who had more in favour of the purchase (48 per cent).

Generally, opponents of the pipeline project were more united in their view that the government made the wrong decision by buying Trans Mountain. An overwhelming majority of that group — 80 per cent — said it was the wrong call. Only 56 per cent of Trans Mountain supporters, on the other hand, said the Liberals made the right choice in buying the project.

About two-thirds of respondents who support the move said the project is a good investment for taxpayers, half said the government had no choice in order to save the project, and 41 per cent the government had to do so to save Canada's reputation as a place to do business.

Most opponents (64 per cent) said the government has set a bad precedent by buying Trans Mountain, and that it should not be in the business of buying pipelines. Other rationales included being generally opposed to the project (42 per cent) and that the government paid too much for it (39 per cent).

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The poll also found overall support for the Trans Mountain project is in line with previous findings — about six in ten, or 57 per cent of Canadians are in favour, compared to 55 per cent in April.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from June 7-10 among a representative randomized sample of 1,021 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. A probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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